“Five Independence Party MPs have put forth a parliamentary resolution that would entail paving the 168km-long road that cuts across Iceland’s remote interior from north to south. According to FÍ, paving the road would increase traffic and negatively impact the experience of visitors, who seek out the region precisely because it is off the beaten path.”
The Danish National Museum has a large collection of photographs, many of which are available online. Since Iceland was a part of the Danish Kingdom until 1944, the museum contains a fascinating collection of old photographs taken in Iceland around the turn of the century 1900. Among these collections is the Daniel Bruun collection.
Daniel Bruun was an officer in the Royal Danish Navy and a prolific archeologist and ethnographer. In the years 1881-82, 1893 and 1911 Bruun traveled widely in North Africa, excavating archeological sites in Tunisia and Algiers, as well as collecting a wealth of ethnographic materials.
He is best known for his archeological expeditions to Iceland, Greenland and the Faeroe Islands, and his ethnographic studies of Iceland in the 1890s and first two decades of the 20th century. He is credited with having introduced modern scientific archeology to Iceland. He studied old Viking Age grave sites, mapping their locations and analyzing their contents. Among his achievements was finding the first boat grave in Iceland.
His study of Icelandic popular culture is also invaluable. Bruun collected hundreds of photographs of Icelanders in their daily lives, made sketches of farms and recorded working methods, customs and popular beliefs and practices which would otherwise have been lost.
These photographs are among the thousands of items from Bruun’s Iceland collection. They are taken over a long period, 1896 to 1927, and include photos of women and girls dressed up in their Sunday finest, as well as photos of farm women and girls working. We have examples of the more ancient Faldabúningur (easily identifiable by the elaborate hats), Peysuföt (more modest, traditional clothing, worn with Skotthúfa, caps with a tail) and Skrautbúningur, which was a 19th century version of the Faldbúningur.”
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“Around 500 tonnes of salmon have died recently in Arnarlax’s open-net fish farms in the Westfjords. The company’s board chairman told RÚV that number is within the limits projected by the company. The chairman of the Federation of Icelandic River Owners expressed concern about the deaths and the impact Arnarlax’s operations could have on wild salmon.
Though salmon regularly die in open-net fish farms, 500 tonnes is more than is usual for this time of year. Kjartan Ólafsson, the chairman of Arnarlax’s board says recent extreme weather has led to casualties. According to Kjartan, cool sea temperatures cause salmon to move further down in the nets and rub up against them. The rubbing can cause wounds that eventually lead to the fish’s death.
It is currently slaughter season for Arnarlax’s fish farms, and several ships are docked in the Westfjords to assist with the process. One of them is the Norwegian Gannet: equipped with 14 gutting machines, it is the world’s largest floating salmon processor. Arnarlax expects to harvest 10,000 tonnes of salmon this year, and Kjartan says the 500 tonnes of casualties were within the company’s projections.
Jón Helgi Björnsson, chairman of the Federation of Icelandic River Owners (Landssamband veiðifélaga), said the farmed salmon deaths were concerning. “Basically, it just can’t be normal for 500 tonnes of fish to die in a short period of time. If that’s natural, then of course people have to start wondering if this is an industry people can justify being engaged in. That’s a huge amount of fish that’s dying there.”
Jón Helgi also expressed worry that foreign ships like the Norwegian Gannet could transmit infections to Icelandic fish farms which could then affect wild stocks. “How are these ships disinfected? How does one disinfect an entire ship that is working at salmon farms abroad? We are very concerned that infections from abroad can be transmitted via these ships because of course they are used when similar situations occur elsewhere.””
Enjoying a few peaceful moments in my cabin in Reynivellir, Höfn í Hornafirði before venturing off to view black sands and glaciers. This was my first stop on the ring road after departing Reykjavík, and I spent a couple of nights here relaxing before continuing along the road for the next long stretch to East Iceland.